10:00 AM- The Washington Blvd Oval 180 some cyclist gathered in the cold waiting for the whistle from the Million Mile Man, Danny Chew to start the 26th annual Dirty Dozen. Eric Lundgren, Ted King-Smith, Brett Rothmeyer, Rob Lochner, Steve Kurpiewski , Mike Carroll , and John Heffner from Iron City Bikes Raceing were there to take part and ride the notorious 13 steepest streets in the city.
Center Avenue was the first of the hills with its steep initial pitch then gradual rise that takes you to the top. The air was a brisk in the low 40′s and the wait for a record number of riders to register had many in the group with cold muscles that did not seem to quell the excitement for getting on the road. The pace quickened as the group waited for the first of many whistles blasts that would mean the race was on and to see who could reach the summit first.
The next few hills blurred together in a mixture of sweat, numb fingers, and pain. Over and over people would stop and ask if that hill was the worst or if they got harder. Yes was my answer to both. By the top of Suffolk the race was shaping up between Steevo and Sam Morrison who seemed to be swapping the lead on every other climb. With the halfway point reached it was time to head over to Mt. Washington for Sycamore and then off to Canton Street with it’s 38% grade. After 8 grueling hills Canton street feels like a literal wall. There is only one way up and that is with sheer will power. The cobbled street takes riders out every year only to walk back down to the bottom and try again and again. The energy on the street is boundless from a hundred other riders cheering you on from the steps that lead up the sidewalk.
With 4 hills left the points battle between Steevo and Sam was still tight,with the lead changing between just about every climb. Steevo had the lead by one point going into the last hill, and also had the tiebreak unless Sam won the last hill. Apparently Sam cracked at the bottom of Flowers and pedaled squares up to the top, Steevo remained strong on the climb to take 4th and the overall win for his 6th in a row.
The top 5
- Steevo Cummings
- Sam Morrison
- Chris Mayhew
- Darin Shriver
- Bob Stumpf
Three was John Hefners number for the day: 3 3rd places for 3 points each, on High/Seavey, Rialto and Boustead. With 6th? place in the overall
Brett was 4th? on Suffolk, and had quite a few top 10 finishes on the climbs.
Marshal Ted finished real strong on Flowers/Tesla, With 2nd
Rob and Steve both finished without their lowest gears because of bent derailleur hangers.
Thanks again to Danny Chew for hosting this great event.